Double Jeopardy Review

This review is of the edited TV-14 version of the film. All thoughts below should be addressed as such as a review of the unedited version would be more negative

It’s time to look at a murder thriller from a little while back. The concept of Double Jeopardy is definitely an interesting one. I get the feeling that there is a little more to it than what the film would have you believe, but it certainly works for the premise. Of course, that’s part of the problem. The film keeps building up to this but we ultimately don’t really get to see it in action. I was expecting the heroine to use it to her advantage but in the end it feels like more of a red herring/missed opportunity.

The film starts with Libby and her husband Nick finally getting ready to take the voyage they had been planning for a while. Unfortunately after Libby goes to bed she wakes up to find that he is seemingly dead. (No body tho) The cops arrest her and blame her for the murder. There’s way too much evidence for this to be an accident and that’s when Libby finds out that Nick faked his death so he could go live with her best friend. Libby’s kid is also with them naturally so she swears revenge against him. Another inmate lets her know that because of double jeopardy she can go destroy Nick now since she already did so once and can’t be tried again. After 6 years Libby is out of prison and ready to begin the hunt. Unfortunately, officer Travis is on her tail so Libby’s really gonna need to hurry here.

Naturally it’s tough to track someone down when you haven’t seen them in years and there’s no handy Google to check things out. Fortunately Libby is pretty good at social engineering and quickly begins to break the human element that always fails the various computer systems and works her way to Nick. She’s definitely very determined in that goal and makes for a fun lead. Libby’s tough and to the point, definitely well ahead of her time as far as protagonists go. She does get a bit iffy towards the end though which is where the writing drops the ball. So at one point she finally finds Nick. At this point there is no reason why Libby shouldn’t just shoot him. Keep in mind that she’s not a super hero or anything like that. Libby’s here for her kid and could care less about the rest. The justice system failed her so she wants to make things right. By that logic shooting Nick is the quickest way to end things. She can easily prove that he was her old husband after that through photos and then she would get her kid.

I suspect that her kid is the only excuse as to why she wouldn’t do that, but logically it would all work out. Just take Nick down and you’re good. Instead she falls for one of the most obvious tricks in cinema and then gets tricked a second time in the climax. It was hard to watch this because she had been looking so good for quite a while to slip up like that. It’s a shame, but I guess the character couldn’t be perfect. She’s far and away the best character in the film despite this though as you can only be so hard on her for making these mistakes.

Then you have Travis who certainly isn’t having a fun time. He gets beat up by his own captive and then is playing catch up for the rest of the film. He’s a bit slow on the uptake but ultimately does try to look into the situation so I’ll give him some credit there. He is a fun character and while the characters give him a hard time for not giving someone a second chance, he made it crystal clear from the start that they were already on their last shot. Miss the curfew and it’s back to prison for you. He’s also pretty sloppy towards the end of the film though. I guess maybe the lighting messed with them all or he popped off too soon thinking the case was over.

Finally you’ve got the main villain Nick. He’s pretty much your average rich villain. The guy switched identities twice which is impressive enough and goes farther than you’d expect. Still, nothing much to like about his character. He just wanted to escape the taxes and all of his excuses are pretty fake. I do also have to wonder how he was able to escape so smoothly in both cases. I get that everything was more lax back in the day, but in all 3 identities he kept the same exact job and status. Didn’t anyone in those fancy art circles recognize him? You’d think that they would.

Before Nick’s death the film tries to sell you on what a good guy he is, but you’d likely know the premise of the film so it doesn’t work. Even if you don’t, the film lays the seeds of doubt early on as he jokes with the friend that Libby won’t like the truth when she finds out. There’s a lot of dialogue between the words hinting at his cheating the whole time. As such, we could have cut down on the romance scenes early on as they don’t add to anything. If the film was determined to try and show us that Nick was a good guy for a while, maybe show scenes with people in the neighborhood saying what a great guy he was. Otherwise he just seems like a corrupt rich guy from the start.

Overall, Double Jeopardy is a pretty decent thriller, but really missed the whole point of its title by not actually utilizing Double Jeopardy intentionally by the main heroine. She should have shot him in the middle of the big parade to prove the point or something like that. Instead the law never really gets taken into effect as the ending can still be considered self defense. Still, that aside it’s solid. The opening is a bit slow but things pick up once she’s on the hunt. The story of the lone vigilante is always an enticing one and this film handles it well. If you haven’t seen this film yet then I recommend checking it out once it’s on TV again. Once she’s in jail the film really starts.

Overall 7/10

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It Came From Beneath The Sea Review


It Came From Beneath The Sea is an old monster film that you’ve likely heard of even if you may not have seen it yet. The movie deals with a lot of classic monster themes like escaping from towering buildings and finally developing a weapon to stop the threat. It checks off all the right boxes even if there is little imagination in the film to differentiate it.

The film starts off with a giant octopus bringing the pain to a bunch of government agents who were in an underwater sub. In that sense the premise is a little similar to The Meg. The government brings in the two leading authorities on Marine life in the world to get cracking on this mystery. Despite their findings the government refuses to believe until things start to escalate. Is it already too late?

The movie has a pretty small cast and unfortunately not the strongest one. The main character, Pete is a little too into romance to focus on his job. He’s constantly going after the scientist named Joyce and gets jealous very quick. He’s quick to assume that she would want to be with him no matter what and needs more than a few reality checks. By the end he’s been set straight and of works out, but he definitely isn’t the most endearing main character. For the most part the film tries to portray him as you classic leader, charismatic, but a guy who knows how to get the job done. His character just can’t recover from the romance subplot.

Then you’ve got his rival who seems to be all over the place. At times he seems interested in Joyce as well and totally oblivious in other moments. By the end he seems to be trying to play matchmaker to an extent which is very odd considering his position. I guess it’s good that he’s taking this so well, but it’s almost too well. His name is Carter by the way and he is an expert in this monster research as well. As I said, he’s a nice guy, but I do think the writers were a bit confused with how to go about writing his character.

As for the heroine Joyce, she is good in some ways, but doesn’t age well in others. The good part is that she wants to be tough and independent. She rejects most of Pete’s advances and tries to concentrate on her work. That’s all good, but she does tend to fold a bit during the monster attacks which hurts her points. She’s the first one to scream when the monster shows up and is utterly terrified the whole time. After her speeches about how she doesn’t need anyone to protect her it just isn’t a good look. She also waffles back and forth a bit on the romance aspect as well.

So, this may be a classic film, but the writing isn’t quite as good as usual. Typically in a film like this the writing is pretty awesome and on point throughout. While most of the characters still work well, the main 3 aren’t that great which is a bit of an issue. The film just doesn’t really compare to most other monster films of its era. It’s a good film for sure, but one that could probably have been great if it wasn’t holding itself back the whole time.

As for the giant octopus, he has a reasonable design. It’s fun seeing him take down the civilians as he stomps through town. Nobody could stand up to this guy although they shouldn’t be expected to anyway. With a single swing of his tendrils he can lay waste to whole buildings and even sinks a ship. It always makes for some fun scenes. The army is a little slow to acknowledge its existence though. Even after there is proof beyond a shadow of a doubt they continue to be skeptical. Honestly the way the scientists presented the case wasn’t even all that far fetched so I’m a little surprised at all the doubt. Ah well, just goes to show that people don’t want to believe in giant monsters.

It’s fortunate for the monster that the humans didn’t believe in it for a while because this is one of the few ones that probably would have gone down pretty quickly to a full frontal assault. It’s not impervious to the stronger guns aboard the boats and while it can move in quick bursts it doesn’t like running. At one point the characters even comment on how it wants a fight. Once the fight starts it is really all over for the Octopus. I do question why the characters had such a poor plan where ultimately they are forced to go up close to end the battle. They just didn’t think things through and likewise a helicopter gets in way too close as well and gets squashed. You gotta give the monsters a wide berth or they’ll walk all over you.

Overall, It Came From Beneath The Sea is worth checking out. We do get some nice banter and of course you can’t go wrong with a classic creature feature flick right? The Giant Octopus is a fun villain to have around. The ending may be a bit sudden, but the flip side of that is that the Octopus gets to dominate for most of the movie. That’s definitely nice to see for my fellow monster fans reading this. It’s also a pretty short movie and doesn’t drag on at all. The pacing’s pretty tight. The movie doesn’t do anything particularly original, but it also doesn’t make any crucial mistakes so that’s a good balance if you ask me.

Overall 6/10

Under Night In-Birth EXE: Late[st] Review


It’s time to look at a recent fighting game that came out for PS4. The fact that it got announced for EVO was a fun coincidence as I had already ordered this game. Now if anything it’ll help me keep up with what’s happening during the tournament a lot better. Arc Systems has always been great with fighting games so right off the bat I knew that this one would be very good. I certainly was not disappointed. It’s definitely a great title.

There isn’t a central plot here, but instead each character has a story that is told through their Arcade Mode. This is a staple for many fighting games so it’s not surprising. The game does give you a little extra content through the Chronicles mode where you learn more about each character though. There’s actually quite a bit of content here. Completing the game with every character will take some time for sure. The general premise is that once a month the “Night” occurs where people from various eras and locations show up to fight. In a way it’s very similar to the Fate plots except that it all happens in the span of a single day. The characters must stop whoever is leading the charge this time before people start being turned into voids and become a danger to society. Some of the characters fight for justice, others for evil, and others for personal reasons. Either way, only one can survive.

The gameplay is that of a fast paced 2D fighter. Each character has quite a lot of combos and you’ll want to master them all if you want to start overwhelming the opponent. It’s definitely a game where you won’t ultimately go too far by button mashing. The combos are made in a way where you need to switch buttons to really use the best ones. Just hitting one button simply won’t work. Still, the game makes you feel good with how much damage you end up dealing all the time. Each character has a unique fighting style so you’ll want to find the character that ends up clicking with you.

Fortunately most of the characters are pretty fun here. I definitely enjoy Hide as he’s a fun protagonist. He’s always up for a fight and while the guy can be laid back, he steps in when necessary. Linne is a good supporting character who is a lot older than she appears. Her experience gives her an edge in combat. Finally there is the Assassin who never likes to say his name. His cool demeanor and expert fighting style makes him a threat as well. One thing that all 3 of these characters have in common is that they’re close range sword users. You just can’t beat that gameplay style.

This game really delivers on a graphics front as well. The visuals for the attacks are great. Pretty much every attack has some kind of effect going on. The stages are very dynamic as well and everything looks very pristine and modern. It would have been nice if we could have gotten some actual cutscenes instead of just having a bunch of still images but I suppose you can’t have everything right? Even more impressive than the graphics here is the soundtrack. Pretty much every theme is dynamite. That’s good because you’ll be hearing the themes quite a lot. Each character has their own unique theme and then the game has a few miscellaneous ones as well. Most of them are fast paced rock songs so you can definitely see why they would appeal to me.

For replay value, this game is a fighter so it automatically has an unlimited amount. You can keep on playing others locally or online to hone your skills. You can spend the money you earn on unlocking new costumes and titles. You don’t earn much money from doing Story Mode so you’ll have to see which way earns it the fastest. Either way there are a ton of things to buy so I expect it’ll take you a very long time to do so. You definitely won’t be putting this game down for quite a while after you buy it. It’s here for the long haul.

If anything it would be fun to see this turned into an anime or manga at some point. It’s got a lot of cool ideas and the story is very large in scope. The game can’t really touch on it all that much though since Arcade Modes are very short. If it was a full anime then it could really go into all of this. It’s just a solid premise as well that would lend itself well to such things. Until that happens the game does work well as a prologue of sorts though.

Overall, Under Night is definitely a great fighting game. It really checks off all the boxes for what a fighter should be. The gameplay is fast and detailed. The graphics are sharp and the soundtrack perfectly complements the tone as well. Finally, the characters are interesting. It’s rare that characters hurt a fighting game, but it happened once with AquaPazza. Ideally a roster should involve characters you are interested in as they’ll just make the whole thing more exciting. Take them out of the picture and there just isn’t much left. Well, this game definitely didn’t have those problems. If you haven’t bought this game yet then I would recommend changing that. It’s only about 20 bucks nowadays which is really a pretty good price when you consider that it’s a PS4 title. You’ll want to jump on that deal while you can.

Overall 8/10

Captain Marvel Review


It’s time to look at Marvel’s latest installment in their expansive MCU franchise. Thanks to an early screening my brother got tickets to I was able to see this film a few days before it came out. It’s definitely a solid film that delivers on all fronts. It has all the classic MCU trends for success; strong dialogue, solid action, and quick pacing. The film doesn’t slow down the tempo and by the end you’ll be satisfied.

The film starts off with an early mission with Carol and the other Kree operatives. It’s a classic extraction mission as they need to get one of their agents out of a hostile environment. The situation does not go as expected and deteriorates quickly. Carol now finds herself on Earth and must confront memories that have haunted her recently. Are the Kree keeping secrets from her? Whether she likes the answers or not, Carol knows that she has to seek them out.

There’s naturally a lot more to the plot than that, but that’s a pretty general description so you won’t have anything spoiled. This is an early review so I’ll be even more careful than usual to avoid spoilers. Now, there is a general feeling among many reviewers that it’s bad to be predictable. A feeling where if you know exactly what’s going to happen in a film then it did something wrong. I don’t agree with that. Captain Marvel isn’t particularly subtle. All of the twists and turns are very predictable and you’ll always know what’s going to happen next. You’ll know which characters are the villains and which ones are the heroes. As Carol tries to figure out her past you’ll end up figuring it out first. To call it the most predictable superhero film may be pushing it, but there aren’t any surprises here, at least when it comes to twists. That’s likely due to a mix of the MCU formula telling you what to expect and general context clues.

I’d argue that this isn’t a bad thing though. What’s important is the execution. As long as the film does a good job of getting to its goal then knowing where it’s going isn’t a bad thing and that’s what the film does well. It’s always a fun adventure. This is thanks in no small part to Carol herself. She holds the film quite well as a lead. I buy into her tough persona a lot more than previous heroines like Black Widow and Gamora. I’ve always liked characters who are fairly aggressive and Carol here is like Hal Jordan or Wonder Woman. Nobody’s going to push her around and anyone who tries eats a photon blast. Captain Marvel is consistently defiant throughout and that’s always a good thing. She’s a lot smarter than other leads as well in a practical sense as she doesn’t fall for an obvious trap near the end of the film that I think many others would have. I look forward to seeing her in End Game. The only concern naturally is how powerful Captain Marvel is. She’s closer to fighters like Superman and Supergirl than someone like the Hulk. It’s easy to see her quickly taking down someone like Thanos here. I think the writers are going to have to be extremely cautious with how her character is portrayed going forward. It’d be pretty annoying to see her nerfed or losing a fight for no real reason.

Another plus for the film is the writing. MCU films are always a action/comedy blend which aim for a 50-50 split. The top notch films like Infinity War, Avengers, Winter Soldier, etc have a good blend. It’s the case for most of them to be honest as the franchise has been consistently great. The only exceptions have been films like Ant Man and Guardians of the Galaxy 2 which were on the weaker side. This one is a great example of how to do it right. There’s a lot of solid banter throughout and quality jokes. The humor scenes are funny though and aren’t forced. They also don’t take away from the fights. The heroes aren’t joking during battles, they take the stakes seriously and only joke before/afterwards.

This also contributes to the film’s quick pacing. It has quite a bit of replay value here since no act drags on. The film’s always moving and that’s always important. A film shouldn’t just be good the first time around, you should be able to re-watch a movie and still enjoy it. That won’t be a problem with this one. The action scenes are solid and the film’s rapid humor style ensures there isn’t a large build up before the jokes that would be harder to sit through if you already know the punchline.

I’d say that the effects look solid as well. They certainly aren’t for everyone as the higher-tier the fighters get the more obvious the effects become. It’s why people didn’t like Man of Steel’s effects despite being incredible. The colors are flashy here and the suits look good. Captain Marvel’s costume is incredibly accurate to the comics and stands out. The action scenes great and seeing Marvel fly through space blasting away at enemies is really cool.

Naturally there is an after credits scene here so be sure to stick around. It’s definitely one of the better ones. I always particularly enjoy when these scenes further the plot along. It’s one of the more direct continuations though so I’m wondering if they’re going to have to show this in the actual End Game film as well or not. I’d appreciate the boldness of not doing such a thing of course as at this point you should be able to stick around for an extra minute or two to see what scene is at the end. I can understand skipping the more comedic ones of course, but since you don’t know which scene it’ll be you just have to test your luck.

Of course the supporting cast here is solid as well. Nick Fury’s always been a fun character and it’s nice to have a younger version of him running around. He gets a pretty big focus here and is certainly right in the middle of many of the events here. He’s always quick on his feet and supports Carol pretty well despite having no powers. Coulson also shows up here although it’s more of a guest appearance than anything. He doesn’t do anything particularly big, but it’s always nice to see him around. There’s also Goose, the cat from the trailers. He’s naturally a lot of fun and I’m always up for having animal show up so long as nothing bad happens to them.

Then we have the Kree operatives. Yon-Rogg makes for a very capable commander. He’s a solid combatant and always thinks strategically. I definitely thought he was a good character. There’s also the sniper Minn-Erva who is pretty ruthless. You can quickly understand her character which speaks to the writing. She doesn’t get many scenes but definitely ends up being one of the most compelling Kree members. The rest of them don’t make much of an impact. Meanwhile for the Skrull there is really only one major member. He’s decent, but not nearly as interesting as the Kree.

I like how the Supreme Intelligence was shown here. It’s definitely a tough character to adapt and the way it was handled here makes a lot of sense. They also gave it a good amount of character even if you wonder how much of it is genuine. It’s definitely pretty cool. If Captain Marvel gets a sequel then I definitely see it getting more of a role. Of course, I would definitely have some serious questions about its appearance. You will have some questions by the end as this film takes place in the 90s as advertised. A lot has happened since then after all.

The film has a lot of inspirational moments as expected. Between the standout visuals and the music there are definitely a lot of memorable moments here. While the 90’s music may not pop the same way that the first Guardians did, the tunes are good. I liked the song that plays during one of the final fights. It was really unexpected, but that partially plays into why it was so successful. There’s a lot of quality choreography during the fights as well. These villains don’t go down so they just keep re-entering the fight. Makes for an extended climax which is always good.

Overall, Captain Marvel is definitely a great film. I really had no complaints with it. It managed to succeed in all categories. Putting aside the crossover films it’s definitely one of the MCU’s best titles. If we don’t count sequels it’s certainly in the top 5 debut titles for a hero. I definitely recommend checking this film out in theaters. It’s also the kind of film that certainly benefits from a big screen so you can really take in the epic visuals. It’s always tough to continue making solid film after film so Marvel definitely deserves a lot of credit for that. Now the wait begins for End Game. The trailers have been pretty lackluster for that one, but it is nice that Marvel’s trying to keep the film pretty hidden. They did a good job of that for Infinity War as well as I managed to duck all of the TV spots. I’m definitely expecting a lot of fights for End Game.

Overall 8/10

Need For Speed Most Wanted Review


It’s time to look at the next Need For Speed game! One impressive thing about the franchise has always been how long each game is. This is another title that will potentially have you busy for 20+ hours and that’s no small feat. EA really put a lot of heart into this series back in the day so I’m curious if that will continue to be the case as I get close to the end of the game series. Most Wanted brings back all of the good elements from Underground 2 while improving on them. It’s the definitive NFS game so far.

The game starts with you heading into town for some good races. You find the top dog and challenge him to a race. Unfortunately he cheats and steals your car. You now have to rise back up to the top from the bottom with a random car. The problem is that your old car was the best in the world. Defeating that is going to be very difficult. There is one lady in your corner who defends you from the blacklist, but ultimately you’ll have to take down all of the racers if you want your dignity back. Are you ready to challenge these guys or is it curtains for you?

At its core the main gameplay of Most Wanted is naturally racing. You have to beat the other cars to the goal. If we go more in depth, the game has a consistent flow chart of how things work out. To challenge a member of the blacklist (There are 10 people on the blacklist) you have to meet certain criteria. This includes: Complete 6 races, 5 Milestones, and achieve a certain amount of bounty. The races are self explanatory, but there are various types like Drag, Circuit, Sprint, Speed Trap, Lap Knockout, and a Time Attack. They all have differing rules but as long as you drive carefully and quickly you’ll be okay. I personally like Sprint and Speed Trap the most. Just boost at the right times and you’ll be set.

Milestones involve escaping the police and doing some time trials. These start out easy but by the end of the game they are quite difficult. For example, one milestone is to run from the cops for 13 minutes without being caught. You can definitely imagine that this is not very easy. If your car tips over then it’s likely over. There’s also the spike traps that are left out which serve as one hit KO attacks against your car. If you’re hit then it’s all over. The bounty also naturally goes up by destroying cop cars or surviving for a while.

Once you’ve taken down 1 or 2 members of the blacklist you’ll be able to see how the game goes from there. While there aren’t many cutscenes here there are still a few more than in the last game. I imagine that the number should keep going up as you go through the series. The cop takedown videos are pretty fun when you lose although it would be nice if they were skippable. By the end you’ll have seen them many times so they aren’t quite as hype by then.

The graphics are definitely pretty nice. The fact that this game finally takes place in the daytime is cool as it makes for a great contrast during the gameplay. It’s like you’re finally back in a real city. The soundtrack is pretty similar to the last one. At least you are given the option to disable songs you don’t like which is very handy. That is already a pretty big game changer if you ask me. The soundtrack isn’t amazing, but the tempo of the songs certainly fit the races.

There’s a good amount of replay value here. Even after you have beaten the game there are a bunch of races to play. Perhaps not as much as you may think, but certainly enough. You can also just have fun running from the cops for hours. It’s an aspect of the game that won’t get old. Then you’ve also got Challenge Mode which has over 50 things to tackle there. The final challenge is sort of like the final mission in the game as the cops have everyone after you. Don’t think it’ll be easy to evade those guys. This time they’re playing for keeps.

One interesting thing is that you can max out your car before the final two members of the Blacklist show up. You will literally have a car that has all its stat figures maxed out. That means that the final two cars aren’t even worth equipping as they are actually slower than yours. It’s an interesting decision and it was almost a bit odd. Still, I guess it shows that you just have to keep your driving at a high level because at the end they’ll all be matching you. I do recommend trying for the pink slips when you beat the rivals on the blacklist since getting a car is worth the odds.

Also, one thing I liked about the final blacklist race is how the villain appears to cheat which fits with his character. He’ll suddenly vanish from the map and appear in front of you or take a shortcut that you don’t have access to. He beat me once using these cheap tricks. It was cool though because I can’t think of a time a game has done that before and it just makes sense. He cheated the first time, why wouldn’t he do so now? The villain’s name was Razor I believe and while he’s definitely not even a good villain, I did like the voice. It oozed confidence from start to finish.

Overall, Need For Speed Most Wanted is definitely a great title. If you haven’t played a Need For Speed game then I’d say you should certainly start with this one. It’s got the huge hub world from Underground 2, but without the style point grinding. The story also takes more of a focus as you can choose to just do the story battles and go from there. The other games forced you to do a bunch of extra races. Next up is Carbon and I’m interested in seeing how that game is set up. It looks like it might be a bit shorter than these last few, but it’s still Need For Speed so we’ll see about that.

Overall 8/10

The Meg Review


It’s time to look at a pretty recent shark film known as The Meg. This one definitely had an interesting trailer for the most part although it definitely seemed to shift in tone quite a bit. For the most part this film takes itself seriously but always keeps a light tone throughout. It makes enough mistakes to keep it from being a good film, but does avoid the critical error involving a dog that could have been tricky.

The film starts off with a group of divers heading lower than they’ve ever gone before. They’re in a submarine so at least they feel pretty safe against the elements. They are a part of a group that is being funded by a billionaire known as Jack. Unfortunately they are attacked by a giant shark known as Meg. There is now no way to bring them back up so the team is forced to call in former expert Jonas. Jonas quit because of an incident where he was attacked by a giant shark and was only able to save most of his team. Well, they want him to go back in the ocean again, but can Jonas really face the same beast twice?

Meg is one of those movies where the plot gradually changes as the film goes on. If you watch the trailer before seeing the movie you can guess what the final act will be as you are waiting for the scene to happen for a very long time. The movie is pretty fun. There’s good pacing and the plot is certainly engaging. While the cast isn’t amazing, they’re better than what I’d consider to be the average for this kind of film. I may as well say up front that the film did a great job in saving the dog. There’s a scene where you think it may be all over for the little guy and it was going to be over for the film’s score as well. Fortunately that didn’t end up happening which saved the film 2 stars I’d say. Now that could work as a jump scare, but I still think films should mainly avoid the animal angle.

Of course, it does put the film in a dicey predicament as the main villain is an animal. How do you stop Meg without injuring her? Well, the quick answer is that you can’t and that limits the film’s potential from the start. Naturally I’m rooting for Meg the whole time because she is just trying to live in a tough world. It’s the pesky humans who keep getting in her way all the time. Meg makes for a good antagonist. She’s pretty huge and certainly vicious. Meg puts up a great fight throughout the film.

While the film’s theme is nowhere near as hype as the classic Jaws tune, the movie does its best to give Meg a theme as well. It works reasonably well in setting up the tone for her scenes. The effects are solid as well. Now lets talk about the human characters. I thought Jack was a pretty solid character. The billionaires in these films are always a lot of fun. Of course, you get the feeling they’re gonna die as soon as they appear since that’s pretty much a staple for this character type. Well, at least his scenes are very memorable throughout. He’s constantly talking tough and for the most part thought things through well. He just got a little sloppy by the end. I also don’t see how you can trip in such a situation, but it felt like all the characters in this film were constantly tripping. I guess the boats can be slippery.

Jonas makes for a good lead. Contrary to Dr. Heller’s assessment, he made the right call when leaving the ship in the intro. I thought that should have been obvious when the whole thing exploded seconds later. They all would have died. Jonas still goes back to help everyone out even though he isn’t particularly thrilled at the prospect. He tackles all of the tough jobs including using himself as live bait. I do think the heroes started stretching their luck with some of the plans though like having him swim towards the shark and launching a tracker. From that close distance in all likelihood Jonas would have been doomed. It’s basically a suicide mission but the characters don’t act like it’s that dangerous.

So, the writing can be a bit dicey at times, but it isn’t terrible or anything. Another instance of bad writing it one of the side characters. He’s basically only around to crack dicey jokes and is one of the first guys to go. He’s another guy where you know he is doomed from the start. He doesn’t add anything to the film and that’s certainly worth noting. The main heroine is good though. Suyin is always ready to jump into danger and is the first one on the rescue mission to help the stranded divers. Her daughter also gets quite a bit of screen time. She can be a bit iffy when trying to play matchmaker but definitely knows a lot about the sub. It’s always good to start learning about tech and such at a young age.

Overall, The Meg is an action film that delivers on everything it promises. There are some films where you basically know exactly what you are getting into from the start. This is one of those movies and that’s not a bad thing. The film’s consistent. It still lost a lot of points for animal violence and a dicey script, but if you’re not someone who minds the animal violence part then you’ll probably enjoy the film. The action scenes are on point and Meg definitely lives up to her hype of being a huge shark.

Overall 3/10

The Marathon Man Review

This review is of the edited TV-14 version of the film. All thoughts below should be addressed as such as a review of the unedited version would be more negative.

It’s time to look at an old conspiracy film. I think it probably would have ended up doing better if we had gotten to see more marathon running and such. As it stands the whole marathon thing is only useful/relevant for one or two scenes. A weak script and over the top violence ensures that this film doesn’t end up going far. It’s not a suspense-thriller that will be fondly remembered. If anything it quickly gets overshadowed by many other titles.

It turns out that a few Nazi troopers survived and they are bent on causing havoc in America. They have a lot of gold in one of our vaults and plan to re-obtain all of their riches so they can go ahead and launch future schemes. They’ll have to find the key to the vault though which was lost in a big explosion. Agents Henry and Peter have to stop these guys, but there may be more forces at work here than they know. Meanwhile a local student named Thomas is just trying to live an ordinary life. He is running around a lot to prep his marathon skills, but isn’t looking for any trouble. Still, trouble finds him as he is roped into this secret battle of countries. Can he survive this experience?

I’ll give the film some credit for keeping the main character separate from the plot for quite a while. I dare say that Thomas doesn’t have anything to do for the whole first half of the film. He’s just walking around and trying to get to know other students at this point. Meanwhile his brother Henry is a secret agent who seems to work for hire. He apparently used to be the best in the business although he has slowly grown pretty sluggish over the years. The villains want him dead and he knows it, but getting out of the situation is still pretty difficult. He didn’t handle his final scene very well though. He basically just walks up to the villain and starts making threats. What did he think was going to happen? I mean, you’ve got to keep your guard up for moments like these, especially if you’re making threats at someone. Otherwise you’re just asking to get stabbed.

As for the main villain, Szell, he’s basically your average mad scientist. In this case he is also a dentist. He’s not the smartest tool in the shed as he very nearly gets caught several times as he suspiciously walks in and out of jewelry shops. The whole dentist thing is also really just used so we can get a torture scene in the film. Definitely another moment that hurt the film quite a bit. By the end Szell refuses to betray his honor and throws in one last attack, but even that shouldn’t have been as close as it was. The characters in this film seem to keep forgetting that he is an old man.

Back to the lead, Thomas isn’t a very good character. For starters he is very gullible. Henry easily sees past Elsa’s fake cover story while Thomas doesn’t care. So long as Elsa gives him a nice time he doesn’t mind that he’s being played for the fool. That’s not the kind of lead you want. He also should have known that something was up since the whole situation with Elsa was incredibly convenient and contrived. As if a proper romance would start so quickly. He never becomes a lead that you can depend on and naturally I wasn’t a fan of Elsa either. She’s not someone you would want to trust.

Peter is another agent who was Henry’s best friend. I think the problem with his character is that he looks evil from the start. Yeah, that can be deceiving I suppose, but he acts so suspicious in his very first scene that you instantly don’t trust him. It’s so obvious that you feel like Henry should have noticed as well. He doesn’t technically work for Szell as they each have their own motivations, but at the end of the day they’re both villains. Now, you may want to know if it’s possible for 3 guys with guns to lose to one amateur with a gun and that fight happens in the film so I won’t tell you who wins. All I can say is that if you have a gun you should probably use it. Otherwise you’ll just end up being shot.

As I mentioned the writing isn’t particularly good here. The film had to air-beep so many words you’d be surprised. None of the characters are particularly likable and the villains didn’t even seem well coordinated. How come none of them thought to look for the key in the rubble of the explosion? Why bother with a second key when you have a backup? Why not capture Henry instead of offing him so they could make him talk? You’ll be questioning the characters quite a lot throughout the movie. Likewise, Thomas rarely makes the right call. If you hear someone fiddling around in your apartment and breaking things down then you should probably get out of the bathtub right? That will just leave you as a sitting duck if you stay in there. I already spoke a bit about how the romance was very rushed so no need to elaborate on it. It’s a classic love at first sight plot which doesn’t work well for any film.

Overall, The Marathon Man is a film where I’d give it a thumbs down. The plot could be a little on the interesting side, but there are too many things holding it down. The film’s pretty violent and torture scenes are always a thumbs down. The writing is bad and the romance isn’t well done. The film doesn’t do a whole lot of things right. The only good parts here are when Henry is running around acting like he’s James Bond. That definitely feels like the approach the film was going for at least. I do like the fact that he didn’t immediately die when someone tried to choke him with the wires as well. In most films they go down immediately so at least here he put up a fight and even turned the tables. Even the fights are pretty violent, but this was a good example of flipping over the usual trope. If this film sounds interesting to you then by all means check it out. Otherwise I would sooner recommend watching The One.

Overall 2/10

The Black Hole Review


It’s time to look at a film with a title that you figure you would
have seen more over the years. After all, black holes are pretty
interesting and when you throw in some sci-fi wrinkles they get even
better. While this film had a good premise and can be fairly
interesting, it also starts to drag on a little by the end which
limits its ultimate potential.

The film starts off with a Star Trek type crew wandering trough space
when they notice a distress call from a ship stuck near a black hole.
Naturally they are obligated to go and help but everything about this
scenario seems highly suspicious. This ship is from an expedition
launched 20 years ago and the crew was presumed dead. Well, one member
apparently survived but regrettably the others did not. This doctor
was able to create a robot army though and now he wants to try and
slingshot his way through a black hole. The captain realizes that this
guy is insane, but it may already be too late to leave.

The plot is fairly standard but always a good premise for a title like
this. It’s basically a Star Trek episode with the crew quickly
realizing that a guy marooned on a lost ship was able to advance the
art of robotics more than a planet of scientists with proper
equipment. It’s pretty surreal. Naturally the main villain isn’t all
that subtle with his ambitions. From the start you know that something
is a little off about the guy. Too bad the scientist of the main crew
couldn’t realize that though. He is ready to abandon the Earth in a
heartbeat so he can go through a black hole with the villain. It’s
almost tragic because that basically means that there’s not much
waiting for him at home. Still, it doesn’t excuse how slow on the
uptake he was. The guy nearly doomed them all.

Then we have the main heroine who isn’t all that subtle on learning
that the main villain is nuts. I guess I can’t blame her for trying
over and over to help the scientist see the light since staying behind
would certainly be lethal but I think she should have prepared herself
for what was to come.

The captain is pretty solid. He basically takes all the good qualities
of Captain Kirk without any of the bad ones. He’s a capable leader and
probably the best character here. He’s suspicious of this whole thing
from the start and is always on guard. I think if you take him away
from the flick the whole movie gets weaker.

I do have to also give some credit to the main robot though. Typically
the robot companion ranged from rather weak to just being very
ineffective. This robot is none of those as he has perfect aim and
even manages to take on one of the big villains. I may not have been
sold on him at first, but he backed up the tough talk by the end. You
can’t deny that his confidence is well warranted.

Where the film suffers a bit is that it can feel aimless once in a
while. The plot is very straight forward. The heroes voyage through
space and try to learn more about the universe. They see a ship and
you know that the man inside of it is very dangerous. It’s not like
any of this is unexpected for the audience so you feel like you’re
just going through the motions until the end. There is a decent amount
of suspense, but it’s drawn out just a little too much. You get the
feeling that this film could have been trimmed down.

There’s really nothing negative about this film which is also pretty
important. It can be hard for a film not to make some kind of error
during its duration so whenever this does occur it is pretty
impressive. It’s not as if you will be super bored or anything during
the film either so I wouldn’t dock the score much for it. The writing
is pretty solid and while not all of the characters are likable, I
think they’re handled pretty well. You can clearly see why the captain
was selected as the leader because the other members would surely lead
the crew to ruin.

The end of the film does try to be a little too “deep” and moving
though. We get a lot of trippy colors and the heroes effectively
travel through hell in order to get back home. It goes for a very 2001
vibe although fortunately it stays classier than that film could ever
try to be. It’s a very odd way to end the film as it doesn’t seem to
match with anything we had seen earlier, but maybe the film had some
extra budget leftover and wanted to use it. I can’t really fault them
for that and it can be a little humorous unintentionally.

Overall, The Black Hole is a fairly good sci-fi film. I can see why it
didn’t get too popular since the film does start to drag on by the end
but it’s still a fun enough story. It doesn’t get too detailed in
explaining the universe, but goes far enough for you to understand
what you need to. If you haven’t checked this film out yet then you
should. It’s an interesting look at how a Star Trek from Disney
probably would have played out.

Overall 7/10

The Indestructible Man Review


It’s time to look at an old school monster type film. I’m not talking creatures here, but a human monster. It plays out pretty much like you would expect and is essentially like the Electric Monster film. My biggest complaint is really just the fact that they waste Lon Chaney here since you can barely even tell that it’s him with all the makeup effects. They may as well have gotten just about anybody. Chaney is at his best when he’s talking so why give him a role where he can’t speak?

The film starts off with Chasen narrating about how tough things were about to be. He’s a detective and as such he does a lot of monologue scenes. But lets not get ahead of ourselves. A criminal known as the Butcher has been caught at last and is about to die. Before he passes, one of his fellow crooks named Paul tries to get him to spill the beans about where the stolen money is. Butcher doesn’t reveal this, but he does say that he’ll come back from the dead to destroy Paul. Paul doesn’t believe the threats, but Butcher ends up coming back to life thanks to some electricity experiments from a pair of scientists. Now Butcher intends to murder Paul and two other crooks so that he can reclaim the money and his friend Eva. Well, he doesn’t know that they’re “just friends” Eva hasn’t told him that part yet. Chasen is put on the case to stop this guy, but what can he do against a bulletproof monster?

If you’ve seen enough creature features you can probably call this one beat for beat. It doesn’t try to do anything outside the box or anything like that. It just gives you exactly what you’re expecting. That’s not necessarily a bad thing but there’s not much to make this a memorable experience either. You could substitute the Butcher for Frankenstein and it wouldn’t make a difference. Still, Butcher’s a reasonably fun villain. I just wish he could talk since he made for a much more interesting villain before he died. If anything he ends up getting out shined by Paul in the present. Paul’s a quick thinker and has some good plans. For example, punching one of the police officers was smart since they had to arrest him for that. Honestly I wouldn’t trust them to keep me safe from the Butcher, but it beats wandering the streets right?

Thing is, Butcher isn’t particularly fast so whenever he catches someone it is only because that person tripped or boxed themselves in. He racks up an impressive body count so people tended to underestimate him. Even several cops were taken down which was a little surprising since usually the villain is taken down a little sooner than that. Trust me, you’ll be surprised at how many guys get bumped off by this character. I guess he earned the name.

As for our lead Chasen, he’s not terrible but he could be better. He’s very overconfident and while he is a good detective, his confidence isn’t always warranted. He takes forever to solve cases and only manages to clear this one because Butcher isn’t exactly subtle. He’s also very presumptuous as he gets Eva fired from her job before even telling her about this. He just assumes that she would want to marry him over keeping her job so naturally that would mean that he made the right call right? It’s the kind of scene that certainly wouldn’t happen nowadays, but in retro films like this one the romance was always super direct like this. They met and the next day it was time to be married. Naturally you can tell that this is not a romance plot I could get behind.

As for Eva, she didn’t seem like a great character. Everyone pushes her around and she may have been rather misleading with the Butcher. She actually left her envelope filled with possible riches in front of a super shady guy while she went off to do her performance. Keep in mind that the door is open so anyone could wander into her room at any time. As a result she doesn’t notice when the guy swiped her treasure map. She’s just not the smartest cookie around.

Meanwhile the police chief was pretty fun. Naturally he is a little out of his depth, but the guy does have good plans and is pretty reasonable. Most chiefs would have just told Chasen no dice as soon as he started talking, but this guy did hear him out which is a considerable improvement. In general the writing was pretty solid here. I’d give the pacing a thumbs up as well. The movie may not have particularly excelled in any areas, but it didn’t really make any mistakes either. The film is consistent and that is always a good skill to have.

Overall, The Indestructible Man is a solid film. It’s a classic monster story even if it never does try to be anything more than that. My main negative would still be the fact that Butcher just doesn’t look enough like Chaney. Imagine how much more humorous the film could be if you had Chaney chasing everyone with his classic monotone voice. It would have likely elevated this film quite a bit. If you haven’t seen the movie yet then I’d recommend changing that. If you’ve already seen a bunch of other films in this genre then there isn’t much of a rush though. It’s not as if this is a film that anyone will ever bring up in day to day life so you likely won’t get exposed for missing it.

Overall 7/10

Batman Ninja Review


Time to look at one of the strangest Batman films to date. This one goes for a very different look and even takes place in a different era than where Batman usually is. It’s a fun enough film, I think parts of it end up feeling more experimental than fixed, but it has potential. Either way it’s a fun way to spend 90 minutes and I’d be game for a sequel.

The film starts with Batman trying to stop Gorilla Grodd’s latest invention. It’s a time machine that he is planning to use to rule the Earth across all of its different eras. Batman blows it up, but this has the unintended effect of bringing him and everyone who was in range of the device into Feudal Japan. He is now in the Sengoku period and each of Batman’s enemies have commanded one of the territories. Joker naturally owns the biggest one. Batman will have to quickly get used to this period and make arrangements with local armies to fight back. He may even have to team up with Grodd, but can the ape be trusted?

After that beginning the film does play out a little differently than I thought it would. I got the feeling that Batman was going to have to unite Japan and take out all of the villains. Of course, maybe it’s for the best that it didn’t go that way since each fight would have been really rushed. I’m ultimately pretty glad that Batman just ignored everyone else and ran to where Joker was. His Batmobile looks better than usual here as it has multiple vehicles built inside. It was too bad when they were ultimately broken.

In general Batman looks pretty good here. I’m still not crazy about his design, but personality wise he basically made all of the right choices. Even if if the hostage was almost definitely fake and just Harley in disguise, that’s not a risk that Batman can simply make. In hand to hand he was doing quite good as well and his plans were on point. Even his quick period of self doubt was shorter than most as he quickly got back on the saddle. That’s definitely what I like to see from our lead.

His array of Robins also show up and were fairly helpful I suppose. As always, Red Hood was definitely the most violent and intense of the bunch though. He was really willing to take Joker and Harley down for the count. Batman’s not up for murder like that so I feel like if that happened in the present he would have probably tried to arrest Jason. This just wasn’t a good time to do so. Catwoman looks all right as well. As always she basically plays the field until one side has the edge and then she makes her move. Things worked out pretty well for her so the plan was definitely her best option.

There’s not much to talk about for the soundtrack but how about the animation? Well, for the most part it looks good. The character models are very detailed and there’s a high tech feel to the whole thing. While the fights can be a little blocky at times it doesn’t take away from the nice choreography. On the other hand, we do get one stretch of time for the farmer scenes where the budget completely dies out. I didn’t mind the video game type cutscenes when Batman says that he’ll have to do things like Feudal Japan civilians would as it’s a bit of a throwback. This artistic fadeaway style is something else though. The scenes just don’t look good and you start to feel like the budget is drying up real quick. Fortunately these are quick scenes though.

There’s a lot of action to be found here. As soon as one fight scene ends you can bet that a new one is about to start up. There is rarely a few scenes in a row where nothing much is happening. With the short length this is basically a must so I’m glad that the film handled this well. You can feel a good amount of power behind each of Batman’s blows which is always important. He strikes with minimal movement as each blow is very precise. The film does a good job of getting that across.

As for the villains, Joker is certainly the main one here. His voice will take some getting used to, but the character definitely gets a lot of respect here. He actually has Batman on the defensive a few times which is more than most villains can say. He actually looks really good during combat which is always nice to see. Grodd also looks pretty solid here even if he isn’t quite as impressive. He’s also a strategic mastermind in his own right so he shouldn’t be underestimated.

The other villains don’t get a huge role though. It’s pretty much unavoidable, but that’s why this concept could have really worked for a full TV season or something like that. Having Batman tackle all of the districts would be pretty cool. Aw well, either way we did get a bunch of giant robots for some fights so that was pretty neat. Then the quick Bane vs Batman scuffle was also pretty intense. It’s always nice to see Batman bringing out a whole lot of tech like this. He’s a genius and with prep time you’d expect him to have a lot of tools at his disposal.

We have to quickly talk about the ending though. It’s basically there for cool points, but makes no sense otherwise. So Batman…the guy who is always trying to hide his secret identity has decided that he’s had enough of that. He gets into a horse driven carriage that has Bat emblems all over it. Why would he draw attention to himself like that? It’s a moment that just feels really forced and I had to bring that up. Not a bad ending I guess, but in universe it just makes no sense.

Overall, Batman Ninja is definitely a fun film. It brings that proper blend of being a super hero film along with some anime inspirations. The fights are good and there’s not much bad to say about the film. The animation could certainly be more refined and the character designs need some work, but as long as you remember this is an AU then that doesn’t even matter quite as much. If you haven’t checked this film out yet then I would recommend changing that. It certainly has a good amount of enjoyment to offer you.

Overall 7/10